There are endless ways to improve a supercar. You can add more power, reduce weight, increase dowforce, chuck in a fast-shiftin' gearbox, or just add go-faster stripes.

None of these methods spices up a whip quite as effectively, however, as ripping the roof off, which is what Ferrari has done to its 458 Italia coupe to create the stonkingly beautiful 458 Spider.

Okay, lopping the lid off a car only improves its aesthetics, and there are downsides. One huge drawback is the fact roof removal causes a vehicle to go all floppy, necessitating the inclusion of extra chassis strengthening, which increases weight and decreases performance.

With that in mind, Ferrari could have been forgiven for furnishing the 458 Spider with a simple piece of cloth to keep the elements (barely) at bay, as it did with the 599 SA Aperta, but the galloping pony has instead opted for a folding hard top. This, it says, adds a mere 50kg -- or half a human person -- to the overall 1,430kg package.

As a result, the 458 Spider is a tenth slower to 62mph -- reaching that milestone in 3.4 seconds -- and its top speed is 4mph slower at 198mph. Rubbish, eh?

Not really, no. Particularly when you consider the fact Ferrari has included an electrically deployable wind deflector that channels air over the cockpit, allowing occupants to have a 'normal' conversation even at speeds of up to 124mph. 

Pricing for the 458 Spider is currently unconfirmed, but expect it to be a good deal higher than the coupe's £173,000 price tag.

Have a gander at it for yourself in Ferrari's official teaser video, check through our photo gallery and check back in a few weeks when we'll have gone paws and tongues-on with the thing at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

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